Crime - Sacto 911

Ask Sacto 911 crime Q&A: What happened to man, then a teenager, convicted of 1986 killing?

Q: Can you tell me where William Pugh is? He was convicted as a juvenile in the early 1980s for stabbing someone to death in Sacramento. I believe he was serving his 25 years to life at Deuel Vocational Institution.

Billy, Sacramento

A: William Jon Pugh was sentenced in 1988 to 17 years to life in prison for the April 3, 1986, shooting death of 30-year-old Donald Fields.

According to stories in The Sacramento Bee, Pugh was convicted of second-degree murder after admitting to a jury that he pulled the trigger on the gun that killed Fields at the victim’s Rancho Cordova residence.

The defense contended during the trial that Pugh, who was 18 at the time of the killing, shot Fields in a “homosexual panic” after Fields began making sexual demands.

According to state appellate court records, Pugh spent 24 years in prison before being released at age 42.

The state Board of Parole Hearings granted Pugh parole in October 2009, but Gov. Arnold Schwarzengger reversed the board’s decision the next month. Pugh then filed a writ of habeas corpus in the trial court, which was granted. The warden of Deuel Vocational Institution, where Pugh was housed at the time of the parole board hearing, appealed the trial court’s judgment. The Third District Court of Appeals determined that the trial court correctly granted Pugh’s petition and that the nature of his offense was “no longer an accurate indicator of current dangerousness.”

Call The Bee’s Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

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